George Hirmiz v. Travelodge Hotel Corp.
Filed opinion of the court by Judge Posner. AFFIRMED. Richard A. Posner, Circuit Judge; Diane S. Sykes, Circuit Judge and David F. Hamilton, Circuit Judge. [6832069-1]  [16-3915]
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
GEORGE D. HIRMIZ,
NEW HARRISON HOTEL CORP., d/b/a TRAVELODGE HOTEL
Appeal from the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
No. 15 C 6874 — Amy J. St. Eve, Judge.
SUBMITTED MARCH 27, 2017— DECIDED APRIL 6, 2017
Before POSNER, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
POSNER, Circuit Judge. George Hirmiz, a front‐desk clerk
at a Travelodge Hotel, was fired after being caught on video
sleeping in the hotel lobby while a fight broke out among
several guests. He sued the hotel under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., claiming that his
employer had failed to accommodate a malady that he had
contracted as a result of long‐term exposure to high levels of
electromagnetic voltage at the hotel; had discriminated
against him because of his disorder; and finally had fired
him in retaliation for his having complained about the ho‐
tel’s voltage levels to the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration. The district court granted summary judg‐
ment in favor of the hotel on the ground that Hirmiz had
failed to present evidence that he is disabled within the
meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act, that he’d
engaged in any protected activity before his termination (an
essential element of his ADA retaliation claim), or that the
complaint he’d filed with OSHA had played any role in his
There is debate in the medical community over whether
sensitivity to electromagnetic voltage is a physical disorder
or a psychological one. See, e.g., Caitlin Dewey, “Are ‘WiFi
Allergies’ a Real Thing? A Quick Guide to Electromagnetic
Hypersensitivity,” Washington Post (Aug. 31, 2015), www.
hypersensitivity. If it is psychological, the symptoms might
not constitute a disorder that would entitle Hirmiz to the
protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A great
deal of psychological distress is trivial—fear of black cats, for
example. And indeed the district court found that Hirmiz
had provided no evidence—medical or otherwise—that he
suffers from any “impairment” that “substantially limits”
any of his “major life activities,” as required to prove the ex‐
istence of a disability under the Americans with Disabilities
Act. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)–(2); Carothers v. County of Cook, 808
F.3d 1140, 1147–48 (7th Cir. 2015). Nor did he even try to
prove that he fits either of the other definitions of “disabil‐
ity” in the ADA—that he has a “record” of such an impair‐
ment or that he was “regarded as having” one by his em‐
ployer. See 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1).
As for his claim that his discharge was retaliatory, the
district judge found that he’d engaged in no activity shield‐
ed from employer discipline by the ADA. Although the stat‐
ute protects employees who suffer retaliation after seeking
an accommodation by their employer, or filing a complaint
of discrimination on account of a disability, Preddie v. Bar‐
tholomew Consolidated School Corp., 799 F.3d 806, 814–15 (7th
Cir. 2015), Hirmiz had neither sought an accommodation,
nor filed his discrimination charge with the EEOC, until af‐
ter he was fired. Nor had he shown any causal link between
his OSHA complaint and his termination—and furthermore
OSHA had found the hotel’s electromagnetic voltage levels
to be normal and the hotel had provided valid reasons, unre‐
lated to Hirmiz’s alleged disability, for firing him (such as
sleeping on the job). See Reid v. Neighborhood Assistance Corp.
of America, 749 F.3d 581, 586–90 (7th Cir. 2014).
He has tried to give us new evidence regarding his medi‐
cal condition, including disciplinary records in his personnel
file that he complains are false and communications with
agencies or persons (including the FBI, the Illinois Depart‐
ment of Human Rights, and the Governor of Illinois) which
or whom he claims he contacted about his complaints
against the hotel. No luck; new evidence may not be pre‐
sented on appeal. Packer v. Trustees of Indiana University
School of Medicine, 800 F.3d 843, 849 (7th Cir. 2015).
The judgment of the district court is
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